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JB Sports sponsor BISA, BOPSSA

Tshepo Kehemile

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THANKFUL: Gaotlhobogwe is excited for the gesture

Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) President Joshua Gaotlhobogwe was proud to launch a whopping P300 000 sponsorship deal from the local sports store JB Sports for the upcoming BISA, Botswana Primary School Sports Association (BOPSSA) athletics competition that will be held in Francistown from the 14th to 15th April.

Speaking on the side-lines of the sponsorship launch, Gaotlhobogwe said they are excited to have received such kind for the upcoming athletics competition. “The government has not been able to fund us and a token like this is a blessing and came at the right moment. We are thankful to JB Sports for resurfacing at the time of need. We have already bought equipments such as kits, trophies and medals that the children will compete for in the next coming week in Francistown,” he said.

In a keynote address, Assistant Minister of Basic Education Honourable, Thato Kwerepe expressed gratitude to JB Sports for finding it fit to sponsor BISA and BOPSSA as a way of nurturing young talent. “This is a patriotic gesture aiming at growing our sports fraternity in this country, something that has to be envied by many. Furthermore, sports is one of our pillars of the economy hence our education system puts emphasis on extra-curricular activities from pre-primary to tertiary level,” the Assistant Minister stated.

Kwerepe further highlighted that sports have no boundaries. “If you talk about global world, sports come into play and that is why I am convinced that if we develop learners at an early age we will be preparing them for global participation in both employment and employment creation. In addition, the government is moving away from a resource based economy to a knowledge based through putting more resources in fields such as sports,” he said.

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.

Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.

“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.

Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.

“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.

Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year  for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having  already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.

“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”

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BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet

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Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.

Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe.  No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.

Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.

However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry  of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”

Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.

However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.

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